Dogs can play an amazing role in conservation efforts. Using their scent abilities, they can help locate invasive species and detect diseases in certain plants. Their abilities help scientists do their jobs more efficiently.

But have you ever wondered how these dogs are trained?

Scent detection dogs don’t just help with conservation, but they can also support law enforcement by sniffing out drugs, bombs, or even cadavers. Training for this is intense and takes several years to complete.1

To teach dogs how to detect certain scents, trainers train dogs to associate a specific scent with a reward. They learn to search for this specific scent and then let their handlers know when they’ve found it.1

While not all dogs are cut out to be working scent dogs, that doesn’t mean you can’t do some scent training at home with your dog. Whether you do it as a hobby or a competitive sport, scent work can be a great way to bond with your dog and stimulate them with an interesting activity.2

You can sign up for classes if you want guidance, or you can start with some simple activities at home using treats and boxes or cups. You can hide a treat in a box or under a cup, surrounded by some empty boxes or cups, and reward your dog when they find the right one that has a treat in it.2

Do you do scent work with your dog at home? What about other dog sports? Check out our blog post on agility training!